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Old 12-01-2013, 09:32 AM
okcmco okcmco is offline
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Dear Members: I was hoping you all might give me some advice on portable generators. I will be buying one to power the house if we get an ice storm here in OKLA. I will mainly want to be able to run the Fridge from time to time, run the fan on the house furnace (110AC, gas heat but electric fan) and maybe a few lights as well as charge laptop, phone etc.
What I need to know is what power rating do I need and what brands do you recommend? I know that Honda and Generac are well regarded. But they are also expensive. Any others out there worth a hoot? Or is it like everything else: you get what you pay for?
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Old 12-01-2013, 09:53 AM
woowoo2 woowoo2 is offline
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3500-4500 watts will do what you want.
I like Champion for cheap, and Honda for expensive.

Also, consider propane or a tri fuel setup.
Storing and rotating gas is no fun.
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:02 AM
okcmco okcmco is offline
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I would not have thought of that. So diesel, gas and propane?
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:02 AM
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I use diesel and propane, the diesels are very spendy but will last a life time if cared for properly , the propane is a honda and was under $1000. Both are in the 4500-5000 range. JT
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:07 AM
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I would not have thought of that. So diesel, gas and propane?
I think a tri fuel is gas, propane, or natural gas.
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:15 AM
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The RV guys "love" the "Chonda" (chinese honda) 3500W generators, like the Champion brand mentioned above. They are often available for less than $300. And, it seems, with careful maintenance, will last for many hours of use.

Northern tool makes a nice Honda powered genset that is very high quality and a reasonable price. I recommend those ones to people who are willing to spend a few extra dollars for a known reliable unit.

Gasoline storage is not as problematic as it might seem. First, leave the generator 100% empty (after break in) and make sure to drain the carb and tank. Then store it.

You can purchase 100LL Avgas and it stores forever in a sealed container. Or you can purchase VP racing fuels "C9 storage fuel" it comes in a 5 gallon metal container and in my experience, will last a minimum of 10 years.

Also, you might be able to siphon gas from your car if necessary.
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:23 AM
okcmco okcmco is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cujet View Post
The RV guys "love" the "Chonda" (chinese honda) 3500W generators, like the Champion brand mentioned above. They are often available for less than $300. And, it seems, with careful maintenance, will last for many hours of use.

Northern tool makes a nice Honda powered genset that is very high quality and a reasonable price. I recommend those ones to people who are willing to spend a few extra dollars for a known reliable unit.

Gasoline storage is not as problematic as it might seem. First, leave the generator 100% empty (after break in) and make sure to drain the carb and tank. Then store it.

You can purchase 100LL Avgas and it stores forever in a sealed container. Or you can purchase VP racing fuels "C9 storage fuel" it comes in a 5 gallon metal container and in my experience, will last a minimum of 10 years.

Also, you might be able to siphon gas from your car if necessary.
That is a good point. Since I started prepping, I have kepy both of my cars filled with furl at all times. It should be easy to siphon
But you are saying that this av gas and the CP will work in a regular gas engine ih no ill effects?
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cujet View Post
The RV guys "love" the "Chonda" (chinese honda) 3500W generators, like the Champion brand mentioned above. They are often available for less than $300. And, it seems, with careful maintenance, will last for many hours of use.

Northern tool makes a nice Honda powered genset that is very high quality and a reasonable price. I recommend those ones to people who are willing to spend a few extra dollars for a known reliable unit.
That's probably a literally, exactly accurate statement. But if you want a generator that will run for years, get the real Honda. Some of my honda motors I have are 20 yrs. old and run perfecly...all summer long.
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:34 AM
woowoo2 woowoo2 is offline
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newer cars have an anti siphon device in the filler neck.

OP, search the boards, lots of good generator threads.
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:43 AM
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I have a Honda EB5000 that I used for 15 years - still starts on the 2nd pull every time but I'd have to shut down the furnace to run the well pump and vise versa. I could only run the electric hot water heat - so I'd run it for an hour before going to before going to bed - that would give us fairly hot water for the next day - enough to shower and wash dishes. I upgraded to a Briggs and Stratton 8000 watt so I can run the entire house and run the water pump and furnace at the same time. I'll still have to run the hot water heater separately.
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Old 12-01-2013, 01:02 PM
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I got a Troy Built 7000k portable a couple of months ago. $899 for the gen and another $800 for wiring in a new breaker box and a single plug to the gen for the whole house.

Tested it after everything was hooked up and it ran the furnace, water heater, 2 tv's, computer, 2 freezers, ref, and all the lights I could think of to turn on. The panel showed it was using 76% capacity.

Consumer Reports highly rates it.
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Old 12-01-2013, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okcmco View Post
That is a good point. Since I started prepping, I have kepy both of my cars filled with furl at all times. It should be easy to siphon
But you are saying that this av gas and the CP will work in a regular gas engine ih no ill effects?
Yes, 100LL avgas, available at any airport, will work perfectly in air cooled engines. It contains no ethanol and is a very high quality fuel. Just don't use it in your car as it will eventually cause the O2 sensors to fail due to lead contamination. FYI, most avgas contains 0.5g Pb per gallon (not much)

VP fuels, C9 is pure, 96 octane unleaded. It's very high quality and will also work perfectly in every gasoline engine that uses 96 octane or less. Works wonderfully in modern cars too. It's truly great stuff. Not too pricy either. A 5 gallon pail can be $40. Not too bad for real world 10 year emergency fuel.
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:08 PM
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You will need to figure total amperage of the items you want the gen set to run

Take amps x voltage for total wattage.

1kw = 1000 watts

Add at least 10% if not 20% to that figure then you can size the generator you will need.

There is a name plate on most all electrical devices that gives you total amperage or wattage for running load. That is unless its been removed
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Old 12-01-2013, 07:52 PM
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After a couple of years of "wanting" a whole house generator, I fell into a deal on a 8kw portable unit. It was brand new, sold at HD for 1299, and I got it for $600 brand new. I couldn't pass up the deal, even though it wasn't exactly what I wanted, I own it and not "wanting" it anymore.
A whole house genny would be about 10kw, and about 5 grand. So doing the math I came out way ahead. There are MANY advantages to a whole house unit: Natural gas is just "there" you don't have to pour it in, it doesn't go bad, and the supply is very dependable. if by some rare instance your NG supply stops, All the NG gennys I have seen have a propane hose attached so you can connect your BBQ tank (or in my case I have 2x50 lb propane tanks for my RV trailer) But for one-tenth the cost, I think I did ok.
Instead of a auto transfer switch (600-800 bucks) I bought a 30 foot chunk of 10-4 cable from HD, and the plug to fit the genny. ($80 bucks). Ran the wire inside the house and connected it directly to the breaker panel, via a double 30 amp breaker. ($12) That way, if the power goes out, I shut off the main breaker (so I don't power the whole city), turn on the "genny" breaker, fire up the genny and away I go. Of course being a bit under powered I would shut off every light etc in the house first.
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Old 12-01-2013, 09:14 PM
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First question.
If your power is out because of an ice storm, why would you need refrigeration?
Next question, how many amps does your furnace fan draw at startup. Some are large enough to need a 20 amp outlet. If yours is large you will need at least a 2000wt generator, maybe larger. Everything else could easily be run off a deep cycle battery and an inverter.
I live off grid and run my generator for 4 hours a day, so all lights, TV, radio, and ipad charging, are powered by several batteries that are charged whenever the genset is running.
BTW, cheap generators are okay for emergencies but not for real use.
I have owned several cheap generators and a few "china diesels" in my time and I have found that if it breaks, you may have to make your own part to fix it because parts are not available. On the other hand, I made the part and it has run 300 plus hours since.(it's my back up)
If you don't want to have to work on your generator, buy a Honda and take care of it.
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Old 12-01-2013, 09:43 PM
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During the ice storm of 98" on the east coast I ran the whole house,(except the hot water heater) on a Sears 4400 watt generator, I changed the oil every 25 hrs. I ran this generator for 18 days, I purchased a troy built 5500 watt seems to be ok, but it's tough to spin over the 10hp when cold, I believe the answer is LP or Gas depending on your location, Diesel would also be good for longevity... Just my 2c........
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:42 PM
okcmco okcmco is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hebegbz View Post
First question.
If your power is out because of an ice storm, why would you need refrigeration?
Next question, how many amps does your furnace fan draw at startup. Some are large enough to need a 20 amp outlet. If yours is large you will need at least a 2000wt generator, maybe larger. Everything else could easily be run off a deep cycle battery and an inverter.
I live off grid and run my generator for 4 hours a day, so all lights, TV, radio, and ipad charging, are powered by several batteries that are charged whenever the genset is running.
BTW, cheap generators are okay for emergencies but not for real use.
I have owned several cheap generators and a few "china diesels" in my time and I have found that if it breaks, you may have to make your own part to fix it because parts are not available. On the other hand, I made the part and it has run 300 plus hours since.(it's my back up)
If you don't want to have to work on your generator, buy a Honda and take care of it.
As to your first question: The ice storm may last a day or two and then the weather may change but last big ice storm here, it took some homes 3 weeks to get their power back, even though the temps was above freezing. as for the furnace, there may be a badge on it indicating how much it pulls but I canít find it. It may be in the back where I canít see it. But it is a 110 plug and the circuit is 20 amps so I would say it is less than 20 amps because it is not the only thing being run on that circuit.
As or the deep cycle battery idea, I will look into it. I take it that the generator will keep the battery charged? And the inverter is to convert DC to AC?
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Old 12-02-2013, 09:57 AM
hebegbz hebegbz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okcmco View Post
As to your first question: The ice storm may last a day or two and then the weather may change but last big ice storm here, it took some homes 3 weeks to get their power back, even though the temps was above freezing. as for the furnace, there may be a badge on it indicating how much it pulls but I canít find it. It may be in the back where I canít see it. But it is a 110 plug and the circuit is 20 amps so I would say it is less than 20 amps because it is not the only thing being run on that circuit.
As or the deep cycle battery idea, I will look into it. I take it that the generator will keep the battery charged? And the inverter is to convert DC to AC?
I keep 6 deep cycle batteries on chargers that run whenever the genset is on.
They quietly supply power for all the lights, TV, radio, computer and such for the 19 or 20 hours between running the generator. BTW, I use a three cylinder 10k watt diesel for my main, and a 6500 watt china diesel for backup.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:01 AM
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Limiting yourself to one type of fuel could be your demise. I agree that storing multiple fuels is a pain but you open a door that you may be glad to have. Also, if you have a budget for power, look into maybe using more than just a generator. Maybe spend some on a gen-set and some on solar or wind. No matter what you decide, there are tons of options. Figure out what works for you.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:05 AM
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I thought long & hard before I bought mine... I bought a Generac 10,000 contractor with a gas motor, & electric start...

I had looked at the LP type that are not portable ( I do have a 3 way switch on my power pole already ) probably for most, if you are not worried about portability, however in a real SHTF situation, LP might be harder to barter than gasoline or diesel ... diesel are almost twice the price, as a diesel motor of the HP needed, are way more expensive... I do keep several 100 gallons of stabilized gas on the farm, so gasoline works for me... I did also consider a PTO driven generator, but if a winter storm, knocked out power, I may need the tractor to clear the driveway, so I didn't think about that long... another con to the diesel, is if power went out in the middle of a blizzard, with temps way below zero, a diesel would require more futzing to get going in the extreme cold...

... in the end, I decided that the more portable contactor generator, could be borrowed to friend if they were without power & we still had power, or if I needed to run my welder somewhere where getting a cord there would be an issue
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